Even Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett have admitted that Ezekiel Elliott did not put forth his best effort in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, but Michael Irvin feels that calling Elliott a quitter is taking things too far.
In an interview on WFAN Wednesday, Irvin said that the “dirtiest” thing you can label an NFL player is a quitter. The Cowboys legend works with LaDainian Tomlinson at the NFL Network, and he is planning to confront his fellow Hall of Famer during this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football after Tomlinson ripped Elliott.
“It’s a different subject in this game, in this sport, because of the commitment that each man makes to all 53 guys that’s on that football field, that’s required to play this game,” Irvin said, via Clarence Hill of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s the dirtiest word, guys.”
Irvin enthusiastically defended Elliott on Twitter earlier this week.
Irvin is entitled to his own opinion, but it’s going to be tough for him to win any argument against Tomlinson after Elliott’s own coach called him out. Perhaps saying Elliott “quit” is a bit too strong, but he certainly could have tried a lot harder.
Ezekiel Elliott had by far his toughest day as a pro in a 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and LaDainian Tomlinson felt the Dallas Cowboys star did not handle it well.
Tomlinson didn’t blame Elliott for gaining only eight yards on nine rushing attempts. The Cowboys’ usually dominant offensive line did not have a great game, and Elliott was hit in the backfield numerous times and had virtually no running room. However, Tomlinson was bothered by Zeke sitting alone on the bench and seemingly sulking.
“I didn’t like the way he quit today,” Tomlinson said on NFL Network’s GameDay Prime. “I didn’t like that. He absolutely quit on his team today. … First his attitude on the sideline. Clearly, he didn’t have any communication with his teammates. Sometimes when things are going wrong, as a leader of that team, as a captain, you have to step up and rally the troops.”
In addition to sitting alone on the bench, Elliott appeared to dog it instead of looking to make a tackle after one of Dak Prescott’s two interceptions.
The Cowboys haven’t lost many games since Elliott and Prescott joined them, so you can understand why Zeke was shell-shocked during a blowout loss. Still, the 22-year-old should take a page out of his quarterback’s book with the way Prescott kept fighting and some of the things he said to reporters after the game. Winning in the NFL is about overcoming adversity. Elliott needs to show he can do that on days he’s not carving up opponents.
Tomlinson led the league in rushing yards twice and rushing touchdowns three times during his career, which spanned 11 seasons. A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection, Tomlinson was one of the best all-around backs in the game. His career stacks up with some of the best of all time, and his induction on Saturday is well deserved.
If San Diego Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn originally wanted to block players from attending LaDainian Tomlinson’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, he has apparently changed his mind.
On Tuesday, veteran tight end Antonio Gates revealed that he will miss a training camp practice to show his support for Tomlinson.
“Some things, you feel like, you’ll never get back,” Gates said, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. “Opportunities like this one, in terms, come once in a lifetime. You’re talking about a guy I played with here. He was the wheels on the tank, if you will. He was a staple of what we did here, and I was a big part of that as well.
“When you have a guy that you played with between the lines and battled with, you always want to be there to support him for a special event like this.”
“Coach was very, very understanding — unbelievable in how he understands,” the eight-time Pro Bowler said. “And, he’s played in this league so you wouldn’t expect less than a guy like that who understands how to run a team and understands players. And that’s what’s important. He really understands people. He was able to say, fine, you can go.”
Rivers has said he plans to remain in L.A. with his teammates this weekend, but he is obviously free to go to Canton if he changes his mind. Tomlinson, who played for the Chargers from 2001-2009, was the focal point of an offense that enjoyed great success with Rivers and Gates.
LaDainian Tomlinson was a fan favorite during his nine seasons playing with the Chargers in San Diego, and the team is now hoping the former star running back can help drum up support in a new place.
Tomlinson is joining the Los Angeles Chargers as a special assistant to the Spanos family, according to a press release from the team. His goal will be to focus on engaging fans in the community.
“L.T. is one of the most beloved and iconic Chargers of all time,” Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos said. “His active involvement in our fight for Los Angeles is vital, and he represents the very best of what it means to be a Charger on the field and in the community.”
Tomlinson currently works as an analyst for NFL Network, and he will continue with that role in 2017.
The Chargers have to compete with the L.A. Rams for a market share, and that will be no easy task. If you saw the way fans in San Diego reacted after the team left, you get the impression not many of them will be remaining loyal to the team in L.A. Tomlinson’s job will be to help bridge that gap, though it remains to be seen how much one former player is going to help.
Ryan Mathews had a LaDainian Tomlinson-type game for the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night, so it was fitting that he celebrated his touchdown run like he was LT.
Mathews went for 127 yards on 29 carries — his fifth 100-yard game of the season — and he scored on a 23-yard touchdown run against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter to make it 24-10. After going into the end zone, Mathews struck the LaDainian Tomlinson pose and did the ball flip:
Mathews did the celebration while airborne, which made him look a bit like Liu Kang flying through the air, but that was definitely a nod to the Chargers legend. The Fresno State product is not having his best career season with San Diego, but he’s definitely putting together a nice one for the Chargers.
In the latest development of the story that may never end, Bart Scott is unhappy with LaDainian Tomlinson after Tomlinson accused him of being one of the anonymous New York Jets players who ripped Tim Tebow earlier this week. L.T said on Wednesday that he believes Antonio Cromartie was the player who called Tebow “terrible” while Scott was the one who said the Wildcat would never work with Tebow running it.
Scott said Tomlinson should stop the guessing and finger-pointing.
“That can’t be farther from the truth,” the Jets linebacker told the NY Post on Thursday. “One thing about me is I ain’t ever hid behind (junk) that I’ve ever said. I’m not afraid to put my name to it, go to a person and say it to them.
“Why would I have those comments and then have another article about we’re a family? The same day, am I bipolar? LaDainian is out of line in thinking I have that type of character. I don’t know what he believes I showed to him when he was here. If anything, I hope I showed him I was a leader and I never try to be a distraction.”
At a charity event on Tuesday, Scott was quoted as saying the Jets are a family and that they would stick together to overcome adversity. Unless Tomlinson is going off more than just his gut instinct and a complete guess, I agree with Scott that he is out of line to point the finger. As for the anonymous players themselves, Scott doesn’t sound convinced that they exist.
“I’ve been here four years,” he said. “It’s always an anonymous source. An anonymous source can be the janitor. An anonymous source can be the cable guy. An anonymous source can be the equipment guy. Anybody can be an anonymous source. If you don’t tell them to put their name to it, what credibility do you have?
“I think the anonymous person is probably some smoke in the air or a fart off somebody’s (butt).”
An anonymous source can be anyone, but the NY Daily News‘ Manish Mehta was specific in mentioning which quotes and comments came from actual players. Mehta is a reputable reporter for the Jets, so I highly doubt he would completely fabricate quotes just to create a good story. I believe that someone actually said it, but that doesn’t give Tomlinson the right to ruin reputations by speculating as to who.
LaDainian Tomlinson knows more than the average person about life in the New York Jets locker room. Many of the current Jets are his former teammates, and L.T. feels confident he knows who was behind the anonymous Tim Tebow bashing that came out on Wednesday.
According to Newsday, L.T. said during his Sirius/XM radio segment on Wednesday that he believes Antonio Cromartie is the player who called Tebow “terrible,” and that Bart Scott is the one who said Tebow running the Wildcat would never work.
“Cromartie has never had a problem putting his name on things,” Tomlinson said. “…Once you start talking to the media about teammates, (coach) Rex (Ryan) is going to address it. He’s not going to let it go. And so, now you have guys that don’t want to put your name on it because, obviously, Rex Ryan has said something about it.”
In other words, Cromartie is not the type to conceal his identity, but L.T. believes he chose to this time so he doesn’t have to hear it from Rex Ryan. God forbid he should just keep quiet and say nothing — assuming Tomlinson is right and the player actually is Cromartie. L.T. also questioned the Jets’ decision to acquire Tebow in the first place.
“They weren’t getting a guy that could really compete for a starting quarterback’s job,” he said. “They were getting a change of pace kind of guy, a Wildcat kind of guy. Why would (general manager) Mike Tannenbaum make that move?”
Tomlinson said New York’s locker room problems last season were the worst he has been around, and after Wednesday’s debacle you have to wonder if this season is just as chaotic. We know Santonio Holmes doesn’t think a two-quarterback system would work in the NFL, but he hasn’t even been around to say anything to the media. Whether it was Cromartie, Scott and/or other players who made the comments about Tebow really doesn’t matter at this point. All that matters is Ryan is once again in danger of losing his locker room — assuming he hasn’t already lost it.
Now that LaDainian Tomlinson has officially closed the book on his NFL career, the next stop for the former Charger is Canton, Ohio. In his 11-year career, Tomlinson racked up 162 total touchdowns and over 18,000 total yards. He holds the NFL record for total touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and total points in a single season among many other records. The video game numbers L.T. put up during the prime of his career make him a lock for the Hall of Fame.
One thing Tomlinson was never able to accomplish, however, was winning the big one. He came up just short several times with both the Chargers and Jets, but L.T. says he’d rather be inducted to the Hall of Fame than win a Super Bowl anyway.
“(I’d rather be a) Hall of Fame player without a ring, because you’ve got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good,” Tomlinson said on NBC SportsTalk. “They draft you individually and you’ve got to back them up and make them right. I think at the end of the day, even though I didn’t win a Super Bowl ring, I felt like I backed them up for drafting me. I backed up the San Diego Chargers for picking me with the fifth pick.”
While you have to do much more for a longer period of time to be inducted to the Hall of Fame than you do to win a Super Bowl, his opinion is not exactly valid. If you asked Dan Marino the same question, I bet you’d get a different answer. Until you have won a Super Bowl, you don’t know what it feels like the be a part of a team that can call itself the best in the league. I’m sure there are plenty of Super Bowl-winning Hall of Famers out there that would keep their ring over their spot in Canton if they could only have one.
This is not the type of stuff fans want to hear. Players spend their entire careers trying to prove that team accomplishments are more important than individual accolades. L.T.’s reasoning is much more friendly for his post-football life, so in a way I don’t blame him for copping out.
With Peyton Manning on the market and the Jets seemingly an elite quarterback away from a trip to the Super Bowl, there has been speculation that Rex Ryan and company will make a run at the four-time MVP. Ryan has been adamant about the fact that Mark Sanchezwill be the starting quarterback as long as he’s in New York, but if there’s anyone who could make him go back on that it’s Manning. LaDainian Tomlinson believes that if that happened Sanchez would want out.
“In my opinion, I don’t know if he would handle it well,” Tomlinson said Wednesday during an NFL Network appearance. “I think he would probably go in and maybe ask to be released because here is Mark Sanchez’s gripe: ‘I took you guys to two straight AFC Championship Games; yeah I didn’t get it done last year, but my first and second year I took you to two AFC Championship Games. How can you turn around and just bring in another quarterback right now?’
“Rightfully so, he would be a little mad. That’s all a part of it. But at the same time, if he could grow up a little bit and try to learn from somebody like Peyton Manning, then maybe in a couple of years — two or three years — if they did decide to go with Peyton Manning, he could learn from that and then also be the quarterback again.”
I don’t know if Sanchez would ask for his release, but he certainly wouldn’t be happy. Regardless of how he has played, he has led the Jets to two AFC Championships and never been anything but a starter in the NFL. Tomlinson is right that he could learn from Manning, but that is far easier to do as a rookie or reserve. It would be extremely tough for Sanchez to ride the bench after he has become so accustomed to starting. Fortunately for him, everyone seems to believe Peyton would never risk stepping on Eli’s toes by playing in the same city.